St. Augustine


The Psychology of Knowledge


 

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THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTELLECT

 

Human behaviour may be explained by the existence of an intellect  comprising a set of understandings which drives all behaviours. The intellect and the understanding are the basic theoretical constructs. 

The intellect is the compendium of all that has been learned in life and contains no innate understandings. Understandings are formed as the result of personal experience.

The form is :-

INTELLECT = THE SET OF UNDERSTANDINGS = THE SET OF SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS OF EXPERIENCE

The psyche is capable of more than behaviours learned from experience and contains a set of innate psychological processes which are referred to as the intellect support system to distinguish them from the intellect itself. The intellect is able to function only with the services supplied by the support system. 

The human psyche therefore comprises two parts which are the intellect and the intellect support system. The understanding of the process of knowledge acquisition must account for the formation and functioning of intellects and for the innate psychological processes by which intellects acquire new understandings. 

The Psychological Processes of Lifeforms

The observation of plants and animals suggests that the psychological arrangement of the intellect and support system as found in human beings is repeated in some or all species. 

The case for the thesis of the widespread application of the support system rests on the manner in which animals and plants modify their behaviours instinctively. Hibernation, seasonal migration, and the compulsion to return to special breeding grounds imply behaviours which are not learned from experience but are demanded by overriding psychological imperatives. These behaviours are the result of intellect support system influences on intellects.

Certain behaviours which are obviously reactions to experience give rise to the thesis that individuals of some or all species of animals and plants can build  records of  experiences on which future behaviours may be based. For example, it is well-recognised that dogs can find their ways around their home neighbourhoods which suggests the intellectual construction and use by dogs of a form of  topographic model based on experience. 

Trees which are growing too close to more established trees or to walls often inhibit growth of branches towards the adjacent object, which suggests a record of quality of light patterns around the tree is maintained to decide optimal growth opportunities. These records of experience are organised by purpose and satisfy the criteria for the status of intellects.

The degree to which the support system controls intellectual and physical behaviour varies with species, and greater intellectual management of behaviour based on experience indicates a more intelligent type, which has a wider choice of actions.

Psychological Evolution

Animal and plant behaviour in general can be explained by the psychological arrangement of the intellect and its support system, and the human psyche is an evolutionary development of these mental structures and not a special case. .

The evidences of Evolution suggest that the Psyche has evolved in tandem with the body and that psychological development has presented greater problems than physical evolution. The long periods of stasis in physical progress may be explained, wholly or in part, by the need to develop adequate mental resources and to test these against experience.

It is necessary to have an understanding of psychological development in lifeforms generally to understand why the human psyche takes its present form.

The structure of the page

The following discussion deals with the human intellect and the intellect support system in that order. The account of the intellect considers the development of the intellect and its behaviour in its dealings with reality. The support system description deals with the innate psychological functions of human beings which affect the knowledge processes.

Section One, labelled How Reality Shapes the Intellect discusses the Theory of Intellects and Understandings and describes how the intellect is formed in interaction with experience, and how it models reality as it sees it.

Section Two, called How the Intellect Shapes Future Reality, covers the Theories of the Cognitive Self, Subjective Philosophy, Rationality, and Purposes and explains how the intellect, through its subjective philosophy, influences future experience.

Section Three, entitled The Functions of the Intellect Support System, outlines the innate functionality which supports the interface of the human intellect to reality.

 

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SECTION ONE

HOW REALITY SHAPES THE INTELLECT

Section One comprises two parts. Part One is entitled The Intellect is the Compendium of Problem Solutions. Part Two is called The Structure of the Intellect

 

Part One

The Intellect is the Compendium of Problem Solutions

The intellect is not self-sufficient. It exists as an entity in process of development. The developmental process requires the input of experience seen as problems, and also the input of the solutions to those problems in the form of intellectual enlightenments. 

No human being or animal can function in the world without the ability to solve problems. Problems of all types occur in the human experience and survival and successful living depends on the individual ability to solve them correctly. Solutions to problems of experience are retained in the intellect as understandings and the set of understandings enables the intellect to deal with repetitions of earlier experiences.

The Holy Spirit gives the problems of experience and also gives the solutions to the problems in the form of understandings. 

The form is :-

PROBLEMS OF EXPERIENCE...> (Holy Spirit)...> SOLUTIONS  = UNDERSTANDINGS OF EXPERIENCE

The combination of problems and solutions is necessary to intellectual development and where the teaching is correctly understood the result is a knowledgeable intellect.

This development process may, to some extent, be controlled by the intellect. The direction of development may be influenced by the careful selection of problems to be solved. The motivation to control intellectual development is given both by the awareness of intellectual ignorance and error as evidenced by events of experience, and by the need to understand why the development process exists at all.

The Intellect is formed by Experience

The intellect is the compendium of all understandings achieved by the individual in his or her lifetime. Experience is the basis of the understanding and the intellect is the sum total of everything that has been learned by the individual from experience. The intellect drives all mental and physical behaviour and it follows that observable behaviour is the indicator of the quality of the intellect. Intellectual quality is of social as well as personal importance. How an individual behaves in the community is a consequence of his intellectual achievement.  

The form is :-

INTELLECT = THE SET OF UNDERSTANDINGS...> ALL BEHAVIOURS

The intellect is formed within the individual, starting from a state of virtually no understanding, and is self-created in response to experience. The intellect develops in more or less the same way for all individuals until the intellect achieves maturity, which is defined as self-management.  

The Intellect governs Purposeful Behaviour

The intellect meets the individual's need to understand and act in the world, by giving the ability to explain past experience, deal with current experience, and to predict future experience in some limited way. A competent intellect is one which produces satisfaction and happiness in the individual. An incompetent intellect leads to confusion, frustration and self-defeat. Problems are the signal that the intellect is inadequate.

The self-managing intellect organises its behaviour to achieve its own purposes, and diversity of purposes causes intellectual differences. A typical purpose of the intellect is the improvement of its own ability to deal with experience by improving its understanding of reality. This requires the seeking of knowledge. 

The form is :-

INTELLECT = THE SET OF TRUE UNDERSTANDINGS = KNOWLEDGE

The development of the mature intellect is no longer subject to the chance of experience but is under the control of the intellect itself. The fully developed intellect can determine its future by choosing the problems it solves and thereby changing both itself and its reality in chosen ways.

The intellect management function includes responsibility for its own development through learning, and ensuring that intellectual activities are conducted on the basis of truth and knowledge. The intellect in its activities calls upon understandings to instigate behaviours, intellectual and physical. Where those behaviours don't exist, or are inappropriate, the intellect calls other routines to set problem solving behaviours in process. 

The form is :-

PROBLEM OF EXPERIENCE = PROBLEM OF UNDERSTANDING...>  PROBLEM SOLVING BEHAVIOURS

Intellectual Quality determines Success or Failure

The life-situation of the mature individual is the consequence of his set of understandings and models of reality, and the behaviours that these require, and it changes as these factors change. Success and failure are the result of intellectual quality. The degree of success the individual has in dealing with experience is founded on the faithfulness of his model of reality to reality. Success is measured by the degree of achievement of the individual's purposes. 

 A progressive and efficient intellect produces a continual flow of new insights and understandings in the direction of the interest being pursued by the individual. The failure to achieve individual aims is always accompanied by the presence of anomalies and problems which indicate failure of understanding and an incompetent intellect. In practice all individual intellects lie somewhere on the scale between competency and incompetency. An intellect broadly based on experience of all types has the power to understand and act in all areas of human experience.  

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The Account of Understandings

The intellect comprises a set of understandings which is equivalent to the library of programs maintained within a computer and it gives the functionality required by individuals to operate in the world.  

Understandings model the world of experience

The understanding is a representation of reality as experienced, and the set of understandings model the world as experienced by the individual. The understanding is created, or modified, as the result of the solving of a problem of experience. Once a particular problem has been solved within an intellect the means to deal with repetitions of the same problem exist within that intellect as automatically invoked routines in the form of understandings. 

The problems perceived with reality give rise to models which attempt to emulate that reality. The more accurately the model reflects reality as experienced, the more accurate will be the predictions based on that model. Valid explanations of sets of experiences, based on accurate models, constitute knowledge, and give rise to correct and effective behaviours, both mental and physical. 

The model or models emulate the reality given in experience, and dynamically transform a problem state into the solution state. The problem definition is the consequence of the analysis of the problem situation. The solution is normally an explanation and a behavioural set. The conscious recognition of a known problem automatically leads to the consciousness of its solution in the form of the understanding of the problem and its solution and the mental and physical behaviour necessary to deal with it purposefully.

The understanding as a model of reality, provides the database from which all behavioural, including verbal, expressions of understanding are drawn. The understanding is therefore both a representation of reality in the form of one or more models and a procedure to be executed.  

Understandings Determine Specific Behaviours

Understandings have a procedure by which the solution is achieved from the problem. This procedure is expressed as mental and physical behaviour where mental behaviour includes structured thinking and physical behaviour includes, amongst other forms, speech. The procedure recognises and conforms to the processes of the model and the quality of the model determines the quality of the procedural output. 

Every true understanding is the consequence of the correct processing of the problems of experience and gives the power to solve specific problems. True understandings, which are knowledge, therefore enable the individual to achieve objectives in life through correct and therefore effective mental and physical behaviours, and from this power the capability for self-management. In general, the power of understandings is limited by the range of past experience. For this reason immature intellects are too limited to enable intellectual self-management. The range and quality of understandings is an important factor in intellectual competency and the purposeful seeking of a wide range of experience, as recommended by Descartes, results in a broad spectrum of powerful understandings. 

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Part Two

The Structure of the Intellect

The Problem of Fragmentation

Understandings are solutions to the problems of experience. In an uncontrolled situation the intellect may have one solution in the form of an understanding for every problem it has solved. Each understanding has a model of reality and this is formed from the understanding of the problem. Since every problem is different every model of reality incorporated into the solutions will be different, and the different models of reality will be incompatible with each other. The net result is that the intellect possesses a non-integrated collection of understandings. In this state it is unable to understand reality as a whole.

The intellect endeavours to overcome this problem by searching for higher level understandings that explain some part of the set of understandings of experience. The ultimate goal is an 'understanding of everything' which provides a common platform for dealing with all experience.

The structuring of experience is aided by the nature of education which imposes order on the teaching matter. This order is most developed in the field of intellectual tools such as language and mathematics. In education the student benefits from the expert organisation of the set of understandings. Further structuring may follow the pattern given by the set of objective knowledge theories in each environment. In utilising theories the intellect gains higher level understandings, based on general models of reality, but complete integration on this basis is not possible since the theory system is incomplete. Education is dependent on the state of knowledge, and where knowledge does not exist the student is deprived of the necessary understandings and intellectual structures.

In Western culture the student intellect has only limited support from objective knowledge and must structure its collection of understandings, true and false, in the best manner possible. In this, the intellect is guided by the natural divisions of experience. In thinking about experience and knowledge the intellect endeavours to explain each natural division of reality, and reality as a whole. The nature of these divisions provides assistance to the integration process. Physical experiences, for example, are easily distinguished from all other types and may be grouped together.

 

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Models of Reality

The Structure of a General Model of Reality

The general model of reality is based on, but not limited by, experience, since the model goes beyond experience to make claims of universal truth. Models may exist of mental, cultural, moral, and spiritual realities in addition to the physical. There may be a model of fundamental reality which subsumes every other model.

Diagram 1.2.1 shows the structure of a general model of reality. The general model of reality is supported evidentially by the highest levels of submodels (SM) which in their turn are supported by lower level submodels. At the lowest level the whole structure is warranted by the set of experiences that it represents.

THE GENERAL MODEL OF REALITY 

Diagram 1.2.1

The general model may represent the personal environment of the individual. Its overall reality may be divided into models of the individual's residential, employment, and shopping environments. The residential model distinguishes the individual's home from every other home in the area, and that home is further subdivided into rooms and contents. The whole edifice is built upon personal experience. The individual is perfectly capable of describing his or her home, and giving directions for finding it, from the understandings supplied by the general model.

Alternatively, the model may represent a theory system. The general model of reality, given by the fundamental theory, may be divided into models of the physical, cultural, moral, ideal, and supernatural subrealities. These in turn may be divided into a number of scientific theories which describe what is known about these environments. Every theory incorporates one or more models of reality. The structure rests on defined sets of experiences.

Top Down Integration

If an integrated set of understandings is examined the relationship between the higher and lower levels of understanding may be discovered. For example, within the general physical model of reality every entity model which has physical characteristics has a place. The definition, or model, of a particular physical entity carries a preamble which states that it should be viewed according to the characteristics of the physical universe. No physical object has any meaning outside the general model of the Cosmos.

Particles can only be understood within the context of the theory that defines them, and that theory can only make sense within the quantum understanding of physical reality. The meanings of submodels in a general model of reality are therefore conditioned by the higher level models, and their meanings might be very different if the higher level models were different. In short, the general model of reality determines the meaning of every constituent of that reality.

The same is true for all general models of reality. The spirit is an entity of the reality of God and must be understood within that general reality. A moral law is an entity of the Moral Universe and the characteristics of this domain must be understood prior to a full evaluation of the specific law.

This rule carries a number of implications. The first implication is that the general model is prior to its subsidiary models. It functions in the problem solving method by supplying the criteria of truth. In effect, the problem solver stipulates that the general model is true and the subsidiary model must be compatible with it. This is the rule of top-down development. The integration of understandings proceeds on the basis that the general model is true. If it is false every subsidiary model is also false and the integrated structure has little value as knowledge. Experience is the common test of truth.

A second implication is that if there is no general understanding of the field its collection of subsidiary understandings cannot be integrated. It will also be the case that these subsidiary models will be incompatible with each other. Thomas Kuhn shows that this non-integrated state is a characteristic of knowledge schools in the predisciplinary stage. However, it is also the state of physics at this time since that discipline has no general theory and only incompatible subsidiary theories.

A third implication is that if the intellect is to be integrated on the basis of truth the general understanding must explain all human experience. Where general models of partial sets of experience exist with no overarching general model, there is no way of determining if these partial understandings are true.

The Problem of Fundamental Reality

Knowledge, at both the subjective and objective levels, is dependent on a comprehensive and true general understanding of human experience. The solution must be to solve the problem of fundamental reality and to derive the common model for the explanation of all intellectual and physical experiences from it. The development of general understandings is a specialist problem beyond the capabilities of most intellects. The proper development of the set of intellects is therefore dependent on adequate objective knowledge.

An intellect without a general understanding of fundamental reality cannot be integrated. An individual intellect, in its fragmented state, may have more than one general model of reality. In its unintegrated state the intellect has no assurance of the truth of any of its constituency of understandings. It is likely to be wrong to some degree in every aspect of its mental and physical behaviours and these errors cause failures in the pursuit of objectives. This state is mentally confusing and self-defeating.

The Rational Intellect

Rationality, as formulated by Rene Descartes, is the endeavour to secure the intellect in knowledge and truth as the prerequisite for correct dealings with the affairs of life. Rational integration of the intellect is dependent on absolute objective knowledge in the form of a fundamental theory.

 

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SECTION TWO

HOW THE INTELLECT SHAPES FUTURE REALITY

Section Two comprises two parts. Part One is entitled Philosophy and the Self. Part Two is called The Theory of Rationality.

 

Part One

Philosophy and the Self

 

Every individual forms a subjective philosophy. The individual's philosophy comprises an understanding of the Self and an understanding of reality. Taken together these understandings give the individual an understanding of his or her life. The subjective philosophy defines what reality is thought to be, and the individual's part in that reality. Purposes follow from the individual's needs and wants in relation to the subjective understanding of reality, and these govern behaviour. 

The diversity of understandings of reality leads to a multiplicity of opinions on how to behave in pursuing purposes. Knowledge offers a solution to this confusion of opinions. Knowledge is the true understanding of reality and implies behaviours which are most likely to be successful.

 

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The Theory of Intelligence

The intellect, as the compendium of understandings, contains an understanding of the self. The "I" or spirit which is the nucleus of the intellect is to be distinguished from this understanding of the self. The I is not an understanding but an existent. One is aware in the present moment of the I but can predicate little about it directly but selfbeing and awareness. The I pre-exists its collection of understandings and constitutes the cognitive, emotional, and judgmental entity which assents to and annexes each new understanding. Its nature is, upon examination, intelligence and its function is willing expressed through its power of choice.

Choice, including assent to the truth of understanding, is made on the evidence presented by the existing relevant understandings within the intellect. What is not understood cannot be chosen. The intellect, as the systematic functioning of the I and its annexed set of understandings, is not compelled to assent to any candidate for inclusion as understanding. Nothing is self-evidently true.

The factors of satisfaction and happiness are associated with the self, or the "I" entity. These are sufficiently desirable to the self to influence choice. The self, in pursuing these ends, moves from the passive to the active state. In this state it forms purposes from which it derives objectives. Problems bar the achievement of the objectives and the self actively solves these problems by conscious thought and physical behaviour.

The Understanding of the Self

The set of understandings includes an understanding of the self which is distinct from the cognitive entity, and it results from the judgments of the self about itself, based on experience. The record of all personal experiences and their explanations is the database from which the understanding of the self is formed. This self-understanding is built on a model of reality which relates the self to external reality, and it is subject to progressive modification. 

The individual's self-understanding explains to him who and what he is and his relationship to what he sees around him, physically and intellectually. It constitutes the set of apprehensions of the self to which the I has assented but which may possibly be wrong. 

The self, in making decisions, normally acts according to its self-understanding and therefore conforms to it. The self-understanding is a behavioural limiting factor but not a necessarily limiting one, since it is modifiable. The I identifies with its self understanding but can transcend its own understanding for purposes of self examination and self-improvement.

The value placed on the self varies with the understanding of the self. Self-esteem and self-confidence, and their opposites, are the products of this understanding. The understanding of the self forms the personal attitudes to reality as the intellect sees it and it has been labelled 'personality'.

 

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Subjective Philosophy

According to Piaget, the subjective philosophy is formed in childhood, when the developing intellect achieves the ability to coordinate means and ends. It develops in maturity to a state adequate to cope with its adult world.

The subjective philosophy brings together the individual's self-understanding and the understanding given by experience of subjective reality. The subjective philosophy provides the means to manage present, and control future, experience and enables the individual to evolve a set of purposes and objectives.

The form is

GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY + SELF-UNDERSTANDING = SUBJECTIVE PHILOSOPHY

All individuals have a philosophy, or philosophies, of sorts, although these constructions are not necessarily recognised as such, nor are they subjected to the critical examination applied to an objective philosophical system.

The self-understanding is a major influence on the subjective philosophy. The understanding of the self as a physical body with a mind produces the materialist philosophy. The understanding of the self as a mind with a physical body produces the Cartesian type of rational or idealist philosophy. Generally speaking, the materialist self-understanding is the normal case for immature and other inadequately developed intellects and philosophical considerations in maturity lead to the rational understanding.

The individual's subjective philosophy is an understanding and has both a model of reality and a set of rules that govern the operation of that model. 

The reality with which the individual deals is not the reality of objective knowledge but the subjective reality of personal experience. The highly educated child of intelligent, wealthy and doting parents has a vastly different set of experiences from the streetwise dropout from a broken home in the inner-city slums. The understandings of experience of reality of the two would have little similarity even if they lived in the same city. Their philosophies of subjective reality would, in consequence, define different sets of possibilities.

The philosophy integrates an individual's set of understandings of experience, both personal and external, and the models of reality on which they are based. The subjective philosophy functions in a similar manner to a scientific theory of reality. The philosophical model is the highest level of explanation of subjective reality.

Multiple Philosophies

The individual may be unable to integrate all his understandings into one philosophy and in consequence is forced to work with multiple philosophies. The common situation is that the intellect is internally divided into understandings based on incompatible realities. The degree of fragmentation depends partly on the stage of maturity reached and partly on the purpose of the individual to progress beyond the degree of integration of understandings given as the result of education.

Diagram 1.3.1 shows the basic structure of the integrated intellect. The intelligence or spirit, known to itself as "I" or "me", sees the universe of experience through the philosophical understanding which models those features of the set of models of reality which are regarded by the individual as significant. The philosophical understanding does not replace the set of models of reality which continue to function and develop in normal dealings with experience.

The Structure of the Integrated Intellect 

Diagram 1.3.1

Diagram 1.3.2 shows the structure of the fragmented intellect. The individual is unlikely to have an "understanding of everything", and the fragmented intellect is the common case. The individual compartmentalises his philosophies and their related understandings and deals with experience through one compartment only at any one time. This does not normally present difficulties except where a matter affects two or more compartments in which case only confusion follows since the intellect cannot resolve such problems.

The Structure of the Fragmented Intellect

Diagram 1.3.2

Fragmentation of reality produces multiple philosophies. An individual may have separate philosophies covering business, religious matters, politics and social matters, and his personal environment. Inconsistencies may become apparent between these philosophies but, in the face of continued failure to integrate the models of reality, they must be separated into exclusive compartments to avoid confusion.

Purposes

The individual's philosophy, or philosophies, provides the basis for the determination of purposes and the fixing of objectives. From the subjective philosophy, based on the models of reality that result from experience, the individual derives purposes appropriate to his self understanding, and these purposes shape and colour his set of understandings and to some extent determine his future experience. Purposes may be clear intellectually defined objectives or may be unexplainable emotionally based wants. The pursuit of these purposes brings the individual into confrontation with ignorance and determines which problems are real for the individual. The solving of these problems are necessary steps on the path to the achievement of purposes. The intellect in solving real problems annexes the solutions as understandings and grows in the process. The mature intellect controls its own development according to its purposes. Diversification of vocations and interests in the more mature intellects produces individualised development.

Behaviour

All behaviour is the expression of understandings. This is given in the formula:-

EXPERIENCE...> UNDERSTANDING...> BEHAVIOUR

Philosophical understandings enable the individual to control his mental and physical behaviour, enabling purposeful behaviour to achieve aims and desires. All human behaviour is purposive, no matter how vaguely discernible the purpose may be. Purposes reflect the individual's understanding of reality and his own part in that reality as well as his own needs and wants.

Where the expressed behaviour is less than successful in satisfying the purposes being pursued the cause may be traced to the understanding that is driving that behaviour. The best behaviours follow from knowledge. Since all his purposes require behaviour for their satisfaction they are all dependent to some extent on knowledge and the individual may decide to base all his behaviour on knowledge as far as this is possible. The pursuit of knowledge then becomes the primary purpose of the individual.

 

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Part Two

The Theory of Rationality

 

The Rational Intellect

The Augustinian epistemology is, like science, firmly based on experience, and there are questions of the history and future of the culture and of spiritual knowledge which fall outside its boundaries. 

The rule is:-

(1) Problems of reality as it was are the concern of History, and the statements of history can only offer probable truth.

(2) Problems of reality as it is can be solved by the Augustinian Method.

(3) Problems of reality as it will be are the concern of Philosophy. The Augustinian understanding is that the future is always open, and flow of experience can be influenced, but not necessarily determined by the choices of the human will, expressed as purposeful behaviour.

The rational thinker may rely upon the Inner Light to guide him or her, through the Problem Solving Method, to the successful achievement of purposes. The following discussion is concerned with rationality in Philosophy and Theology.

Rational Philosophy

Rational Philosophy is concerned with truth and morality. Reasoning about human problems from a ground in error and ignorance is unproductive and futile. Truthful premises and arguments are necessary to truthful conclusions. Morality in human corporate affairs and personal dealings is the condition of truth.

The rational culture is truthful and moral. This definition of rationality applies to both the subjective intellect and to the group culture, seen as objective knowledge. The development of Western culture towards rationality is dependent on a rational cultural philosophy.

Rational Philosophy, as the generator of purposes, manages the future of the individual and the group. Philosophical thinking moves from the true understanding of cultural or personal reality as it is to the definition of a more desirable reality.

Spiritual Thinking

The thesis of the Rational Scientific Epistemological theory is that God is Truth, where Truth is the meaning of absolute reality. In spiritual thinking the theses that God is moral and God is Love are also considered. 

To say that God is moral and God is Love is to say that absolute reality is moral and loving. Created reality is moral and immoral in parts. Love exists in created reality but often seems to be obscured by evil. For the individual, living in an imperfect created reality, morality and love are real choices and have good consequences in human experience.

Rational and spiritual knowledge and cultural and intellectual development are essential elements in God's purpose since cultures and individuals must understand correctly in order to choose correctly. For the culture, the spiritual phase is seen as a future objective to be defined by a more advanced epistemology than that offered here. For the individual, spiritual development is an ongoing choice. 

Intellectual Rationality

Both the rational philosopher and the spiritual thinker rely upon intellects which are firmly grounded in truth and morality. The rational development of the intellect is the choice of the individual who can, through appropriate purposes, set in hand the reconstruction of his or her intellect on the basis of truth and morality. The task of reconstruction is undertaken by the Creative Source which is identical with the Light of Reason. The Inner Light is dedicated to the intellectual development of the individual, and this ability to rely on the Light of Reason means that it is not necessary for the individual to methodically evaluate his own intellect in the Cartesian manner, nor to decide personal knowledge goals in any detail. The purposive interaction with the Source results in a rational and fundamentally correct intellect.

 

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The Light of Reason

Rene Descartes defined the rational intellect as being soundly based on truth and knowledge but Cartesian methods for the achievement of intellectual rationality are, however, impractical and the correct methods are defined by scientific epistemology.

Truth is given by the Inner Light

The rational intellectual reality is the Mind of God and the rational intellect deals directly with fundamental reality and not through intermediary theoretical systems or other ideal constructions. The language of dialogue is meaning which is the common language of reality. The student is learning directly from reality and his or her understanding is empirical. All other natural divisions of reality are irrelevant to intellectual truth at this level of enquiry.

The Creative Source of knowledge, known to philosophy as the Light of Reason, deals truthfully with honest intellects. Formal testing of subjective knowledge is unnecessary as the Inner Light, as the Teacher, will both impart true understandings, and correct previously formed erroneous or incomplete understandings. The knowledge given by the Light of Reason, considered as Divine Illumination, is absolutely true. There is no higher authority than God Herself.

Development of the intellect by the Inner Light is initially in the direction of the understanding of ultimate and unified reality. The reason is that this understanding supplies the means to integrate the intellect, which provides the foundation for further truthful development. Development of the understanding by the Light, when pursued far enough, enables the individual intellect to acquire expert knowledge status on the subject of ultimate reality. This is the case both for the philosopher, the theologian, and the committed seeker after truth.

The Reconstruction of the Intellect

This development, on the basis of an understanding of fundamental reality, involves the reconstruction of the intellect, and offers a position of truth from which to view both the existing understandings and new experience. The reconstructed intellect may still contain errors due to past false judgments, but these now appear as contradictions, and can be dealt with accordingly. The reconstructed and unified intellect permits the integration of all experiences and understandings. This allows all the understandings of the individual to be reduced to a single common scheme.

Diagram 5.2.1 shows the structure of the fragmented and compartmentalised intellect. This is the pre-rational state of the intellect and it will be remembered that each compartment of the intellect is self-contained and unable to communicate with other compartments. Problems that fall across compartmental boundaries must be dealt with rather unsatisfactorily by one compartment alone, or must be rejected as too hard, or meaningless or for whatever reason that can be accepted.

The Structure of the Fragmented and Compartmentalised Intellect

 Diagram 5.2.1

Diagram 5.2.2 shows the structure of the reconstructed intellect in which the understanding of fundamental reality subsumes all other subsets of understandings of reality. The resultant intellect, once the process of integration has been carried through, is a more powerful and capable entity. This power manifests in the new subjective philosophical understanding.

The Structure of the Reconstructed Rational Intellect

 Diagram 5.2.2

It is always necessary to study all the natural divisions of reality simultaneously through experience. No understanding can be given which exceeds the capability of the individual to understand, and this capability comes from the understanding of the problem given in experience. The Light of Reason does not make good defects in the foundation given by experience. Descartes, among others, has affirmed the necessity of a broad foundation of experience.

 

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SECTION THREE

The Functions of the Intellect Support System

If certain psychological processes are analysed it is found that their functionality cannot be explained by simple learning from experience, nor can conscious decisions to construct them be given as an explanation. These processes exist, and are beyond individual reach should there be a wish to modify and improve them. They seem to respond only to confidence in their efficacy or to its lack.

For example, there exists an ability to recall past experience in an ordered manner. This facility has not been invented by individuals or otherwise implemented as a consequence of any decision to preserve a record of experience. Confidence in one's memory produces some improvement in retrieval of records, and lack of confidence also appears to be self-fulfilling.

In general, behaviours which can be traced to the process of learning from experience are intellectually determined. All other behaviours are the result of psychological imperatives. Where these innate behaviours vary regularly between individuals the causes lie in the specification of the intellect support system.

The innate processes form the Intellect Support System which, together with the intellect, constitute the human psyche. This is the mental equivalent of the physical system that is the body. The body enables the individual to function in the Cosmos and the psyche gives the required functional capabilities in ideal reality. Together these two systems, the physical and the mental, form the package which constitutes the given human entity.

Biological Influences on the Psyche

The mental system can influence and determine physical behaviour in certain ways familiar to all. The physical system can influence the mental. For example, malfunctions of the body can cause disruptions of mental functions. There are other physical conditions, benign or neutral in themselves, which can determine human behaviour.

The biological imperatives which influence human behaviour must express themselves through the psychological  system in order to affect normally voluntary physical behaviours. Observation of these behaviours suggests that some are common to all human beings, some are related to the stages of human development, and some are gender related. 

Feminist thinking raises the possibility that there are masculine and feminine scripts dictated by the psychological arrangements of each sex, where the script is a biologically preferred psychological and physical behavioural profile. 

Those imperatives and behaviours which play no part in the knowledge processes are not the immediate concern of this epistemological project, but legitimate epistemological concerns such as knowledge needs and purposes may be affected by biological imperatives and these need to be considered.

The Support System Functions

The Intellect Support System supplies a number of services to the individual intellect in its pursuit of knowledge and understanding, most of which are usually unnoticed and taken for granted. 

The support system divides into internal and external subsystems, roughly comparable to the operating system and input-output system of a personal computer. The internal management routines further divide into those foreground tasks which support the system of consciousness and thinking, and the background database system which manages the records of the intellect.

Internal Intellect facilities

Foreground Support:

The system of consciousness

Thinking Support

Current Status maintenance

 

Background Support:

Memory Management

Retrieval of understanding

The organisation of the subconscious

The management of the conscious/ subconscious interface

 

Creative Source interface facilities

Problem Solving

Mental Picture Formation

Speech

 

External interface facilities

Experience management

Interrupt Management

Recognition of purposes

Language Encoding and Decoding

Control of the Physical Body

 

The existence of the intellect support system becomes obvious when it is asked how an artificial intelligence could be equipped to carry out intellectual activities of the human type. The innate psychological processes are not, in principle, difficult to program and none exercise choice. The support system must be classed as pre-programmed functionality.

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